2010 Finalist-Call to Farm: FarmShare
Call to Farm: FarmShare
FarmShare reconnects farmers and consumers as co-producers of the foodscape. The strategy uses social media to pool all the resources of Brooklyn into a crowd-sourced decentralized farm. Voting for local food with their forks already, Brooklyn food activists will pool their time and their waste in A Call to Farm
ENTRY APPLICATION: PDF
WEBSITE: BK Farmyards
FEATURE VIDEO: Backyard Farms
BK Farmyards, Brooklyn, NY
Critical Need Being Addressed
Urban farmers need organization to give political voice to the movement and legitimize these workers as farmers. The logistics of urban farming forces hundreds of farms to act individually, scavenging for land and resources. To make urban farming a viable business, new infrastructure is required for sharing experience and resources.
Description of Initiative
Farmshare, web-based platform, allows users to share all resources of urban farming: from donated seedlings grown on a windowsill to a borrowed wheelbarrow for hauling soil. The interface mimics familiar tools such as google maps, twitter, and facebook: users can view each others farms, volunteer for a day, or donate ten pounds of coffee grounds for compost. This allows many citizens to become stewards of the landscape. As a barter system between many participants, bragging rights of who donated the most waste to a farm could result in a share of the bounty.
Simple graphs, maps, and diagrams will chart trends in urban farming. The platform can track how much waste is diverted from landfills; who was instrumental to starting and maintaining a farm; and what the radius of influence is around farms. This data can be used to convince local officials what new bills or grants will be helpful to local food and economy.
BK Farmyards is now in the concept stages for Farmshare. We have sketched up the website interface and detailed how the user would use each feature. Our next step is to determine what features are critical to starting the project and what features will follow later.
This initiative was submitted by Stacey Murphy under the name of BK Farmyards to the 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge and was reviewed by the jurors as a finalist. The entry submitted this year by the same team assumes prior knowledge of the underlying concept, which, simply put, is a strategy to turn under utilized private and public land in Brooklyn, NY into small scale vegetable farms. The core of the strategy matches homeowners with a 'farming service' to cultivate their 'fallow' land. A portion of the crop yield would be given to the owner in return for use of the land. The rest would be sold at local farmer's markets. Since then they have had success in building the social and physical network for urban farming in Brooklyn, NY and they are preparing to develop and launch Call to Farm:FarmShare. They propose that this online social networking site will help scale out and make more efficient the connections and discussions happening on the ground with this movement. The interview centered on the approach and implementation of the social media in the overall initiative. It was clear that Stacey has engaged a quality tech person to help bring the site to fruition and she demonstrates a track record of bringing communities together. The qualities that captured the attention of the review team and jury last year are still apparent - it demonstrates the personal integrity and individual initiative for growing a strategy in a thoughtful iterative way. Stacey Murphy picks up on the present trend in urban agricultural thinking and has created a model that relatively soon will complete a proof of concept and move into a place where the model can be replicated.
PEOPLE: About Stacey Murphy, Founder of BK Farmyards
As a community activist and designer, Stacey is transforming the local foodscape in Brooklyn: she and her new partner have developed 5 new farm sites in the last year. BK Farmyards has acquired the use of 1.5 acres of land to date with the first all Brooklyn-grown CSA last year and now the first Brooklyn-grown egg CSA.
PEOPLE: About Wes Reid, Web Developer
Originally from Houston, Wes Reid currently lives in Brooklyn where he persistently blurs the lines between artistry and technology. Beginning from a desperate need to create a CD cover design for his band, this self-taught graphic designer and programmer took this challenge far beyond the scope of that original project. Twelve years later, Wes is an in-demand software architect in web-related technologies and has produced many interactive applications in collaboration with Ogilvy Interactive, MRM Worldwide, RappCollins, TribalDDB and 360i for a long list of clients that include Nikon, Marvel Comics, Intel, Canon, and Verizon. He has also worked extensively with market innovators to develop support and intelligence systems with Credit Suisse and UBS.
In addition to all the creative technology, New York gives home to his primary passion, Jazz, where Wes is an active drummer in the scene.